Write On Right Now!: How do you read a book?- Writing Prompts & Exercises to Get You Writing Now!

Write On Right Now!

Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to write. And that would be me. I've moved my journal about my writing life over to LiveJournal http://susanwrites.livejournal.com This blog will be filled with writing prompts and exercises so we can all write on right now! Please feel free to share your favorites.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

How do you read a book?

When I was a child reading just for pleasure I didn't think about how to read; I just picked up the book and read. But as I started to take my writing more seriously, I began to panic (something I do a lot) that maybe I wasn't reading a book correctly. I used to feel stupid trying to discuss children's books with other people. They'd be talking about the layers in the book, the recurring theme that mimicked some mythological story, and the hidden meaning in the fact that the character picked up a banana instead of an apple to eat for a snack. Me, I knew if I liked it and I knew if I didn't but I usually didn't know why. The panic increased. Now I didn't only have to be a good writer, I had to be a good reader too. And of course I was sure that I was doing it wrong.

I like to read like the child I once was. When I am interested, I keep reading, and when I lose interest, I put the book down and don't worry about it anymore. When something strikes me especially well, I do tend to reread it over and over again, trying to understand what it is about that sentence or that paragraph that grabs me. Those are the ones I write in my journal to savor later, but I never quite figure out the why behind them and usually settle for just enjoying their existence.

We are all different kinds of learners. A friend told me once that, "Some people don't need anything more than their instinctive responses; some people are actually stymied by too much critical thought." When she said that, When I read that, my brain sorta clicked and went bingo! The more I think about some things, like process, the less I understand it and the more I begin to doubt what I am doing. I tend to forget sometimes that I am an instinctive writer. The more I go against that process the more trouble I have with the writing. In the rest of my life I have always liked having rules and guidelines to follow so it turns me inside out when I go to write and realize that I can't follow guidelines on how...I just have to do it.

Now I know that there is no right or wrong way to read a book. There is just reading and not reading.

Write on right now.


At Thursday, July 14, 2005, Blogger Don Tate II said...

I find, at least as of late, I read with a highlighter in hand. When something catches my eye; a certain combination of words, some use of humor, or something else, I can refer back to all these highlights when I am completely finished with the book. Slows down my reading even more, but I am growing so much.

At Thursday, July 14, 2005, Blogger Susan Taylor Brown said...

I do the same thing, Don, read with a highlighter. One of the hardest things, I think, for my husband to get used to was that I left books turned face done (bad for the spine) turned down corners (I stopped that) and highlight and wrote in the books. Now he understands it's the way I process things. You could also pull many books off my shelf and find dozens of little Post-It notes hanging off the pages.


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